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Strickland introduces bipartisan Military Hunger Prevention Act

Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) was among a bipartisan group of legislators who today introduced the Military Hunger Prevention Act. The legislation would establish a basic needs allowance paid by Secretary of Defense to low-income members of the armed forces. The bill aims to make it easier for covered members to purchase groceries and be food secure.

In a statement today, Strickland said:

Our military community has not gone untouched by the challenges of this pandemic, including the economic strain it has placed on housing and hunger.  The bottom line is that people who serve our country should not have to worry about putting food on the table.  The Military Hunger Prevention Act is the investment that our military families need and deserve, and I’m proud to join Representatives Panetta, Young, and Bacon in introducing this vital legislation to put an end to military hunger.  Taking care of our military families at Joint Base Lewis–McChord in my district and across our nation is not only foundational to our nation’s readiness, it is also just the right thing to do for those who make sacrifices every single day to keep us safe.”

Washington’s 10th district has one of the highest veteran populations in the country. On the campaign trail, Strickland said her family’s military background would inform her policymaking.

I grew up in a military family and like a lot of people who live in South Tacoma, Lakewood, or the Lacy area, a lot of us are here because of the military. There are a couple of big projects which require federal assistance. Transportation is at the top of the list because we know there are some challenges with traffic; dealing with critical infrastructure along I-5; how we need to deal with interchanges in Lakewood where we have a lot of rail transportation; and issues that affect people off base. I think people sometimes assume that every military family lives on post and that’s not true. A lot of military families like mine lived outside of the base.” 

According to Strickland’s staff, many military families who do not live on base receive a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to pay for off-base or privatized military housing.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) counts BAH as income when considering SNAP eligibility.  As a result, low-income military families facing food insecurity are disqualified from this resource and often rely on food pantries and food banks for emergency food assistance. 

One of the bill’s other sponsors, Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) said:

Currently, there are federal regulations that unintentionally cause military families to lose out on SNAP benefitsOur bipartisan Military Hunger Prevention Act would make up for that loss by providing certain military households with a basic needs allowance to purchase groceries.  Although it’s unfortunate that some military families have to resort to SNAP, it’s our responsibility to ensure that those families, at the least, have access to the necessary support they need to lead healthy, food secure lives.”

In addition to Panetta, other sponsors include Reps. Don Young (AK-at-large), Don Bacon (NE-02), Salud Carbajal (CA-24) and Jim Baird (IN-4).

Strickland, a freshman member, was elected to the open seat in Washington’s 10th CD after former Rep. Denny Heck retired from Congress. Heck later ran for lieutenant governor, and won.

Strickland serves as a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

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